There will be a few posts covering several books in each post for the next little bit as I try and catch up on all the reviews I did not complete this year!

Sorcery and Cecelia by Patricia Wrede
Book One in the Cecy and Kate Series

A great deal is happening in London and the country this season.

For starters, there's the witch who tried to poison Kate at the Royal College of Wizards. There's also the man who seems to be spying on Cecelia. (Though he's not doing a very good job of it--so just what are his intentions?) And then there's Oliver. Ever since he was turned into a tree, he hasn't bothered to tell anyone where he is.

Clearly, magic is a deadly and dangerous business. And the girls might be in fear for their lives . . . if only they weren't having so much fun!
I had this book on my wish list for quite some time. I usually really like books that are told in diary or letter format, provided I am a bit picky with what I choose. Lots of people said that this was a good book, and it received great reviews on Amazon, but I just did not like it. I could not get involved with the characters and I actually found them annoying at times. The story did not capture me in at all. It was torture to finish this book. I am not sure if maybe it was my mood at the time, or I just am not a fan of this series. It made me sad, though, because it was a book I had looked forward to reading, and it just left me disappointed.

Mirror Universe: Glass Empires by David Mack, Greg Cox, Mike Sussman, and Dayton Ward
There are moments glimpsed only in shadow, where darkness rules and evil incarnate thrives. You hope against hope that in your lifetime, evil is relegated to the shadows. But what if it wasn't?

What if you lived in a universe where your life was measured only by what you could do for the Empire? What would you do to survive? Would you sell your soul to free yourself? If you were offered the chance to rule, would you seize it? If you could free your universe from the darkness but only at the cost of your life, would you pay that price?

Star Trek: Enterprise® She seized power in a heartbeat, daring to place herself against all the overlords of the Empire. Empress Hoshi Sato knows the future that could be; now all she has to do is make sure it never happens. For her to rule, she must hold sway not only over the starship from the future but also over her warlords, the resistance, and her Andorian husband. As quickly and brutally as Hoshi seized power, imperial rule is taken from her. Her only chance to rule again is to ally herself with a lifelong foe, and an alien.

Star Trek® One man can change the future, but does he dare? Spock, intrigued by the vision of another universe's Federation, does what no Vulcan, no emperor, has ever done: seize power in one blinding stroke of mass murder. And at the same instant he gains imperial power, Spock sows the seeds for the Empire's downfall. Is this a form of Vulcan madness, or is it the coolly logical plan of a man who knows the price his universe must pay for its freedom?

Star Trek: The Next Generation® Humanity is a pitiful collection of enslaved, indentured, and abused peoples. No one dares to question the order, except at peril of their lives. One man survives by blinding himself to the misery around him. However, Jean-Luc Picard resists, just once. And in that one instant he unlocks a horror beyond the tyranny of the Alliance. Can a man so beaten down by a lifetime of oppression stop the destruction?

When I decided that it was time I restarted buying Star Trek books, this is one of the first that I picked up. I am not a big fan of short story collections. I read them from time to time, but they are not my favourite thing in the world. That may have affected my response to this book, because while I liked it, I did not love it. One of the minor problems is that I was never a big fan of either The Original Series or Enterprise, so to read books set in those worlds left me trying to remember who was who. I really like books set in the Mirror Universe, though. Those were always some of my favourite episodes because they take everything you know and play around with it. It sorts of makes you wonder if there is a Mirror Universe really and someone sort of like you is leading a very different life. It is interesting to think about. I look forward to reading the next book in the New Year.

Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card
Winer of the Hugo and Nebula AwardsIn order to develop a secure defense against a hostile alien race's next attack, government agencies breed child geniuses and train them as soldiers. A brilliant young boy, Andrew "Ender" Wiggin lives with his kind but distant parents, his sadistic brother Peter, and the person he loves more than anyone else, his sister Valentine. Peter and Valentine were candidates for the soldier-training program but didn't make the cut-young Ender is the Wiggin drafted to the orbiting Battle School for rigorous military training.Ender's skills make him a leader in school and respected in the Battle Room, where children play at mock battles in zero gravity. Yet growing up in an artificial community of young soldiers Ender suffers greatly from isolation, rivalry from his peers, pressure from the adult teachers, and an unsettling fear of the alien invaders. His psychological battles include loneliness, fear that he is becoming like the cruel brother he remembers, and fanning the flames of devotion to his beloved sister. Is Ender the general Earth needs? But Ender is not the only result of the genetic experiments. The war with the Buggers has been raging for a hundred years, and the quest for the perfect general has been underway for almost as long. Ender's two older siblings are every bit as unusual as he is, but in very different ways. Between the three of them lie the abilities to remake a world. If, that is, the world survives.
It was probably not the best timing when I read this book. I had started it right before Sandy got really sick, so I was finishing it up right around the time she died. This is when my really good reading year sort of slowed down, and I even almost lost interest in reading in the first place. The period in which I read this book does not leave a great impression behind, though. I think it will always be the period that I read it in more than the book that will stick with me. That being said, I was not a huge fan of this book. I have to be frank, I have been noticing a pattern this year. I am just not a big fan of books narrated by children. Sometimes they work for me, but many of the books that I really did not like this year, that was why. Does that mean this was a bad book? Nope. I still intend to read more from Card in the New Year. Will I be able to reread this book in the future and get a different impression of it is anyones guess, but for right now, this book did not capture me like it did so many others.

What is Un Lun Dun?

It is London through the looking glass, an urban Wonderland of strange delights where all the lost and broken things of London end up . . . and some of its lost and broken people, too–including Brokkenbroll, boss of the broken umbrellas; Obaday Fing, a tailor whose head is an enormous pin-cushion, and an empty milk carton called Curdle. Un Lun Dun is a place where words are alive, a jungle lurks behind the door of an ordinary house, carnivorous giraffes stalk the streets, and a dark cloud dreams of burning the world. It is a city awaiting its hero, whose coming was prophesied long ago, set down for all time in the pages of a talking book.

When twelve-year-old Zanna and her friend Deeba find a secret entrance leading out of London and into this strange city, it seems that the ancient prophecy is coming true at last. But then things begin to go shockingly wrong.
China Mieville has been a fantasy/science fiction author that I have been interested in for quite some time, but this was my first attempt to read him. I liked the cover for this book, and the illustrations were very appealing for the simplistic nature. They added to the story. I received this book when it first came out, but when I tried it the first time it did not interest me. I put it aside for a few months to go back to when the mood was right. When I reattempted a couple months ago, I found that it was actually a fun book.

Un Lun Dun is sort of like the mirror universe to London. When people in London try to get rid of things, Un Lun Dun is where they go. They are in trouble, though, and they are waiting for their saviour to come and make things right. They have a book that has outlined everything that will happen when their saviour arrives, but when Deeba and Zanna find their way over there and appear to be the prophecy coming true, the citizens of Un Lun Dun soon learn that things do not always go the way they are supposed to. These are their adventures to save Un Lun Dun from those that wish to bring about its destruction.

This book is a magical adventure for young readers everywhere. It has its awkward moments where I found that I just wanted to skip ahead, but overall it was an enjoyable read. I think it was a promising first look at China Mieville, and I look forward to reading more from him in the future. The paperback is coming out in January, so it is just in time to purchase it with your Christmas money. I recommend this book for a fun read with illustrations.

To read more about it, head over to Random House, where it is published.

A Book of Wonders for Grown-Up Readers

Every once in a great while a book comes along that reminds us of the magic spell that stories can cast over us–to dazzle, entertain, and enlighten. Welcome to the Arabian Nights for our time–a lush and fantastical epic guaranteed to spirit you away from the very first page….

Secreted away in a garden, a lonely girl spins stories to warm a curious prince: peculiar feats and unspeakable fates that loop through each other and back again to meet in the tapestry of her voice. Inked on her eyelids, each twisting, tattooed tale is a piece in the puzzle of the girl’s own hidden history. And what tales she tells! Tales of shape-shifting witches and wild horsewomen, heron kings and beast princesses, snake gods, dog monks, and living stars–each story more strange and fantastic than the one that came before. From ill-tempered “mermaid” to fastidious Beast, nothing is ever quite what it seems in these ever-shifting tales–even, and especially, their teller. Adorned with illustrations by the legendary Michael Kaluta, Valente’s enchanting lyrical fantasy offers a breathtaking reinvention of the untold myths and dark fairy tales that shape our dreams. And just when you think you’ve come to the end, you realize the adventure has only begun….
I was drawn to this book from the first time I saw it. It has a wonderful cover that you cannot help paying attention to. They say not to judge a book by the cover, but sometimes covers are so eye-appealing you want the book just so it can grace your shelf and add some colour. Couple that with the fact that the recycled paper look gives the book a bit more of an older feel, it makes for a wonderful first impression of an author that I have never read before. So, of course, now the true test is whether the book is a decent read or not.

On to the premise. When I read the back of the book I was interested simply by the fact that they are marketing it as "A Book of Wonders for Grown-Up Readers". I am quite fond of novels of the fairy tale variety, so I was interested to see what this book had in store for me. Normally to read a really good fairy tale novel, I tend to have to read young adult books, but this one was marketed for an older audience. And, the style that it was written in is perfect for the type of novel it is. Fairy tales got there beginning as oral tales, with someone remembering all the stories and either passing them on through the family or traveling around and telling tales at towns. It was not until people like the Grimm Brothers that fairy tales were transformed from oral tales to written ones. This novel is written, of course, but one of the main characters is telling the stories to a young prince. Her tales are not written down in a conventional manner, but she was born to know them.

This is the story of a lonely girl who has found herself on the outskirts of civilization. People fear her and generally avoid her, so she spends her childhood being raised by nature in the garden. It is a young boy that befriends her. He believes that since he is a prince he needs to prove his bravery, so he seeks her out. His family is not supportive of his sneaking away, and his sister will do most anything to see him not be able to slip from her sight. He is addicted to the stories, though, and finds many ways to have them continue. She transports him, and thus the reader, to amazing worlds of fantastic creatures and wonderful adventures. It is really two novels in one, so you get the chance to read two novels for the price of one. The best thing about the second book is when pieces left unfinished in the first story found their way into the second.

I loved this book! Catherynne is a fantastic world creator and I cannot wait to read the next book! I ordered it today, actually, as it came out on October 30th. If anyone is looking for a book for Carl's Once Upon a Time challenge next year, I recommend this one!

To learn more about this book head on over to Random House.

Book of a Thousand Days by Shannon Hale

When Dashti, a maid, and Lady Saren, her mistress, are shut in a tower for seven years for Saren’s refusal to marry a man she despises, the two prepare for a very long and dark imprisonment.

As food runs low and the days go from broiling hot to freezing cold, it is all Dashti can do to keep them fed and comfortable. But the arrival outside the tower of Saren’s two suitors—one welcome, and the other decidedly less so—brings both hope and great danger, and Dashti must make the desperate choices of a girl whose life is worth more than she knows.
With Shannon Hale’s lyrical language, this forgotten but classic fairy tale from the Brothers Grimm is reimagined and reset on the central Asian steppes; it is a completely unique retelling filled with adventure and romance, drama and disguise.
I read this book before it was even out in many places. Shannon Hale has quickly became one of my favourite young adult novelists. This book worried me at first. It had a bit of a slow start, so I was not even sure if I was going to like it. One of the saving graces was that it did not only take place while they were locked up in a tower. That might be okay for a fairy tale, but for a novel that would be a bit boring! The novel is told in diary-format from Dashti's point of view. Sometimes Dashti annoyed me, I think a lot of it was because she sort of did the predictable things. She was also a bit of a faithful servant at times, she was so loyal that at times she was just plain annoying. Overall, though, I was quite fond of this book by the end. Shannon Hale can tell a decent story. Romance, adventure, royalty, and other elements that make for an interesting fairy tale story.

Princess Academy by Shannon Hale
Miri lives on a mountain where, for generations, her ancestors have quarried stone and lived a simple life. Then word comes that the king's priests have divined her small village the home of the future princess. In a year's time, the prince himself will come and choose his bride from among the girls of the village. The king's ministers set up an academy on the mountain, and every teenage girl must attend and learn how to become a princess.

Miri soon finds herself confronted with a harsh academy mistress, bitter competition among the girls, and her own conflicting desires to be chosen and win the heart of her childhood best friend. But when bandits seek out the academy to kidnap the future princess, Miri must rally the girls together and use a power unique to the mountain dwellers to save herself and her classmates.

After reading Hale's new novel, I decided it was about time to read her Newbery-award winning book. I have to say, it was another good read! This one was a bit more interesting than The Book of a Thousand Days because it had more going on in it. Hale seems to enjoy the romance elements in her books, though, they almost always play a part. I suppose romance is a fairy tale ending, but that does not mean that it is had to be included. Even if the romance does not always work out, Hale always finds a way to work the element into the novel.

This novel was about Miri and her mountain friends. They had grown up in a secluded area of the kingdom, and were not very well aware of royalty. When the priests predict that the princes new wife will come from this mountainous area, the girls are sent to a Princess Academy to become the women that the prince would be fond of. During the course of the novel, Miri grows as a person. This also happens with Dashi, Hale is very good at writing novels with strong female characters that may not always be aware that the strength is there, but they grow into it. It makes for interesting reading!

Overall, I recommend both of these novels. I just have to readRiver Secrets, and then I will be all caught up in my young adult reading.

On my regular blog, The Written World, I am hosting a contest. All the details are found below:

Since the release of her first novel, I have been a huge supporter of author Colleen Gleason. Earlier this month I was brain-storming something new to do on my blog since October was such a horrible reading month and I have been too busy to do a great deal of blogging. October is generally my favourite month of the year, so it seemed fitting even if I had read a lot to do something special. So, I propose a contest. I hope it will be a fun idea and lots of people join in. Now, for the run down.

Running Dates: October 25th-November 15th, 2007

The Name of the Game is Fan Fiction, Art, or Photography

The Details: The object is to write fan fiction, draw a picture, or take a photograph relating to Colleen's two in print novels and her forth-coming one.

The idea is to rewrite a scene that you did not like, add a scene that you wish had been there, or write a scene that you wish will be included in The Bleeding Dusk. And, those are just three ideas, as long as you keep the three novels in mind, you can come up with your own ideas. If you are not up to writing, you can also do something photography or drawing related. The only thing I will be strict about is effort. I am not expecting perfection, and I won't give you word limits or anything like that, but I just want the work to clearly show that you have taken a bit of time for the activity. Any questions, just ask in the comments.

The Prize: A $25 dollar gift certificate to Amazon and a signed copy of The Bleeding Dusk. It will not be an Advanced Reading Copy, it will be an early copy in about January. And, Colleen is also throwing in a Vis Bulla t-shirt. I have one of the other styles, I might have to get one of the new ones now... They are very decently priced!

I hope that people join in! I plan to post all the submissions on my blog, not just the winner. Please don't post your entry in the comments, email it to me at twisted_kingdom_blog AT hotmail DOT com. The most important thing is to have fun and be creative!

I am so excited, a rerelease of The Princess Bride! William Goldman's novel is one of few books I have actually planned to reread and actually did so! And the movie is one of my favourite movies of all time. As I have been seeing mentions of the book and movie around the blogosphere, I have wanted to either reread or rewatch the movie, but I have not had a chance to yet. I am lucky I have found the time to write this post. So, why am I posting? To talk about a very interesting contest!
In conjunction with the 20 th anniversary of The Princess Bride , MGM Home Entertainment is launched the “Ode To Princess Bride” Sweepstakes, an online contest that provides an “editor's tool kit” with video, audio and music from the film and allows fans to create their own “Ode to The Princess Bride” video trailer. The contest winners will be selected by Norman Lear and Rob Reiner. One grand prize winner will receive a state-of-the-art Panasonic Home Theater package and The Princess Bride script autographed by Rob Reiner and Norman Lear. For more information, please visit .
Cool, huh? I am lucky I have time to myself at all lately, but if I did I would be entering for sure! Since I do not, everyone out there should join in! The prize is nice, wouldn't you say? Good luck to anyone that joins in!

Check out the DVD special features:

NEW True Love and High Adventure: The Official Princess Bride DVD Video Game

NEW Princess Bride: The Untold Tales Featurette

NEW The Art of Fencing Featurette

NEW Fairytales and Folklore Featurette

So, even if you are like me and do not have time for the contest, still remember to pick up your copy of the movie on November 13th!

Hello everyone,

I'm sorry to have been such a bad blogger and that Kailana had to maintain this blog by herself. However, I don't know how often I'll be contributing to this blog in the future. It's not that I've lost interest in blogging or reading... simply, the books I read are more geared towards romance, even with a lot of paranormal elements, than fantasy or sci-fi and so, I think that reviewing those books here is just the wrong place. However, the book I'm going to review today is pure fantasy :D

Empire of Ivory by Naomi Novik
published by Del Rey in September 2007

Tragedy has struck His Majesty's Aerial Corps, whose magnificent fleet of fighting dragons and their human captains valiantly defend England's shores against the encroaching armies of Napoleon Bonaparte. An epidemic of unknown origin and no known cure is decimating the noble dragons' ranks-forcing the hopelessly stricken into quarantine. Now only Temeraire and a pack of newly recruited dragons remain uninfected-and stand as the only means of an airborne defense against France's ever bolder sorties.Bonaparte's dragons are already harrowing Britain's ships at sea. Only one recourse remains: Temeraire and his captain, Will Laurence, must take wing to Africa, whose shores may hold the cure to the mysterious and deadly contagion. On this mission there is no time to waste, and no telling what lies in store beyond the horizon or for those left behind to wait, hope, and hold the line.
Genre: fantasy, dragons

Series: Temeraire, Book #4

Empire of Ivory picks up where Black War Powder left off. Temeraire and Laurence, along with the crew, the ferals dragons and so on, come back to England, to find that most of the dragons of the Corps are sick... they suffer from a sort of consumption and so far, none of the dragons afflicted have survived. Later, they found out that the cold Temeraire got during Throne of Jade is actually the consumption that the other dragons are suffering and as a result, Temeraire along with all the sick dragons of his formation are heading to Africa to find a cure.

I have to say that I've been waiting this book with a lot of anxiety. If any of you have read the excerpt of Empire of Ivory at the end of Black War Powder, you'll know that many dragons have died and I was very, very worried for Lily, Maximus and Volly. I almost didn't read the book when I got it, because I was so worried... however, I'm glad that I did read it, because once again, Ms. Novik has delivered. Empire of Ivory was a great read, a great continuation to the story... and a lot happened. The whole book focused less on war and more on the English Corps. In addition, Temeraire is back with his formation and I think that's why I enjoyed this book more than Throne of Jade and Black War Powder. I miss the camaraderie between Temeraire, Lily and Maximus and their Captains. In Throne of Jade and Black War Powder, many new characters were introduced, but there wasn't much friendship or interaction between them and Temeraire/Laurence. They were necessary for the story to advance.

Also, Temeraire is a bit less "political" in this book. He still wants a better life for the dragons, but it isn't all he talks about and that was a great relief for me. I understand what Temeraire wants and demands, but it's tedious to read about ^^;

One thing that I really liked about this book, is that we got to see a bit more of the relationship between the Captains and their dragons. We all know that the relationship between the dragons and their Captains is important; however, to see how the Captains suffered for their sick dragons, it was touching and it emphasized the special bond even more. Also, it's sad how people outside the Corps do not understand this attachment. They do not understand that the dragons are more than an animal... They can communicate with you their thoughts, their feelings and so on. They're not ships or horses... Another thing that I enjoyed was the display of the dragons' intellectual capacities. It's been said in previous books that dragons learn to speak in their eggshell and acquiring new languages is hard (except for Temeraire). In addition, when they have to learn about the signal flags, it has to be right after they hatched if not, it's too late and they have difficulties. In this book, the dragons get engrossed in mathematics and theories and so on. I thought it was nice and interesting.

Finally, even though it focused less on war, I think this book contained a lot of development for the future. There was more time for Ms. Novik to focus on the characters and their growth... there are few surprises and twists that I didn't expect.
For those who thinks that the ending is a cliff-hanger, it is. However, remember that Ms. Novik is contract to book#6 of this series... if you do the maths, well we're only at book #4 right? Also, remember the promise Temeraire, Lily and Maximus made to each other in His Majesty's Dragon? Wonder if they'll keep it :D

Grade: 4.5/5

Fans of the series, you won't be disappointed.

I have been a bit busy with my life and not really posting reviews, although I have been better the last few days, so to give this blog a bit of activity, one of my fellow Historical Tapestry bloggers offered to guest blog. Here is her review.

When Paige Winterbourne is ousted as leader of the American coven of Witches, all she wants to do is hide under her duvet for a few months. But fate, of course, has other plans. A murderer is on the loose – someone with Superhuman skills and a grudge against the supernatural community. When Paige learns that the killer is targeting children, she has to get involved.

Desperate to protect those she loves, Paige is thrown into a world of arrogant sorcerers, drunken necromancers, sulky druid gods and pretentious leather – clad vampires. Not to mention an apparently unstoppable supernatural psychopath hell – bent on revenge.

This is the fourth in the series and the second featuring Paige as the main character and I think this is the best one so far. I feel like all the characters are growing up and are less annoying, even Elena the female werewolf who was the main character in the first two books. I was going to stop reading after the first two books because Elena really annoyed me but I’m glad I changed my mind.

This story focuses on Paige and her new boyfriend Lucas Cortez, who father is the CEO of the biggest supernatural organisation but Lucas doesn’t like the way his father does things so he works against the organisation by protecting and acting as the lawyer for many innocent supernatural people. But while Lucas is away his father comes to see Paige and from there they both find themselves dragged into a case they could end up killing them. Paige and Lucas criss- cross the country trying to find the killer and following any leads that come up. In the end it takes a necromancer, vampires, werewolves, sorcerers and witches working together to bring the killer in.

The only problem I found with this story is there wasn’t enough Savannah and I really like her I think that she is a much better character then Paige but that isn’t to say I don’t like Paige I do I just want more Savannah.

I can’t wait to read Haunted.

I keep forgetting to check the email for this blog, I'm a slacker, I know, so if you want a reply please email kiwi_shelf AT hotmail DOT com. The other email is like spam city, too, so we will go with this method for a bit.

And, yes, I do plan an actual update sometime in this century. :)

Since I am not really in a reviewing mood lately, I thought that I would share a list of sci-fi books that looked interesting. Angela did them for her Thursday Thirteen, to see the list click here.

Some of them I have heard before and was planning to buy anyways, but others I am being introduced to for the first time. She also provides links to excerpts to see if they interest you. Hopefully I will get back to reviewing soon, I have a lot of great books to talk about!

I had to turn word verification on, I was browsing some older posts and I noticed that we had a major spamming problem! I have been deleting them as I see them. Is there a way to turn comments off to older posts without turning them off to newer, does anyone know? I get an email notification now, so I can catch it easily, but we didn't have it for a while, so there are probably lots of messes for me to clean up. If you are browsing older posts and see any spam, just comment if you would, and then it will be brought to my attention. Otherwise, I will spam clean when I have the time to.

Completion Date: August, 2007
Publication Year: 1997
Books Two, Three, and Four in Peter David's Star Trek: The New Frontier Series. (Review for Book 1)

Reason for Reading: I really liked House of Cards, so I decided that it was a good idea to see what else this band of crewmates got themselves into. I really wish that they had made this into a television show and left Star Trek: Enterprise alone, but unfortunately this will likely never be a television series. It's too bad, this is a very entertaining cast of characters.

Sector 221-G: For the whole of Federation history, this large area of space has been controlled by the Thallonians, a cruel, militaristic race of which little is knownexcept that they rule the other races in their sector with vicious iron hand.

Now the Thallonian Empire has collapsed and the systems it once ruled are in chaos. Old hatreds are surfacing. Petty tyrants control deadly weapons. World after world is descending into disorder and self-destruction. The Federation must send a starship to help where it can and report what it finds.

That ship is the U.S.S. Excalibur, a newly refit Ambassador-class starship commanded by Captain Mackenzie Calhoun and manned by Starfleet's best and brightest, including some old friends from Star Trek: The Next Generation and some of the most dynamic new characters ever to crew a Federation starship.

Join Captain Calhoun and the crew of the U.S.S. Excalibur as they explore strange new worlds, seek out new life and new civilizations, and boldly go where no one has gone before!
Reading these three books and the one that comes before it almost makes you think that this was supposed to be the series, and then it got popular so they made more. These four books all talk about the same time and show the progression of events all within a short period of time. This is Starfleet's band of misfits, they are all capable of doing their jobs, but their lives have been hard and has made it so they go about things in a way that might not be the regular way.

My only beef with this series is who they chose as the first officier, Commander Shelby. She guest-starred on an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation once and she rather annoys me. I think that is the point, but it does not mean that I was thrilled to see her playing a starring role. It works, though, Captain Calhoun is not your textbook Star Fleet Captain, and his wild ways play off nicely to Shelby's stick-in-the-mud mannerisms, but she still annoys me. She probably always will annoy me. Their fights are pretty funny, though, so maybe she will loosen up a bit during the course of this series.

There are a few characters in these books that I would like to see on television. The chief engineer is quite the interesting character, I can see hints of Scotty in many ways. The chief security officer reminds me a bit of Worf of all the security officers on the shows. Then, there is the vulcan doctor who is quite different than any doctor we have seen before. If like anyone I would say the early episodes with the Doctor on Voyager. Throw in a navigational officer who is thinking so fast he can look asleep and still function and a half vulcan/half romulan comm officer, and we have an interesting time ahead of us.

To sum up these three books, there is a lot of action, the captain finds himself in the middle of his mission with people after him on all sides, and he does not exactly go by the book to correct the situation. All in all, it is an entertaining series that I look foward to reading more from. I own the next four books, so I will likely read them soon, but then I have to find the rest of the books in the series.

Completion Date: August 2007
Pages: 275
Publication Year: 2003
A Book in the Star Trek: Voyager series, sequel to Homecoming

When an unstoppable Borg plague breaks out upon Earth, blame quickly falls on the newly returned crew of the Starship Voyage ™. Did Kathryn Janeway and the others unknowingly carry this insidious infection back with them? Many in Starfleet think so, and Seven of Nine, in particular, falls under a cloud of suspicion.

Now, with a little help from the Starship Enterprise ™, Admiral Janeway must reunite her crew in a desperate, last-ditch attempt to discover the true source of the contagion and save Earth itself from total assimilation into a voracious new Borg Collective.

But time is running out.

Has Voyager come home only to witness humanity's end?
This book continues the duology about Voyager's return to the Alpha Quadrant. Once again, a very short book, but I for the most part like how they decided to tie up Voyager's loose ends. It is too bad that for some reason Voyager is hardly novelized after the show went off the air: there are only two more books that even talk about life after they were lost for seven years.

So, briefly, what happens when they get back is Torres goes on a journey to find herself and repair bridges from her past. It makes references to an episode of Voyager I had never seen before at the time of reading, but I watched a rerun of it last week, so now I understand what happened. If you have not seen the episode, it is called something like The Barge of the Dead, then that is okay. The book explains the important parts so that you know what is going on. Meanwhile, Tom Paris is home with their newborn baby trying to get used to being a father. Torres thinks that he is home hanging out in his apartment with his friends, but really he is caught up in the middle of what is looking like a Borg plague. Since Voyager has just returned with two Borg aboard, they are blamed for the spread of the disease and their two Borg crewmates are imprisioned.

This book also discusses holographic images rights. The Doctor on Voyager has developed outside of his program to be a working and functioning being who thinks for himself. A human currently residing on earth decides to take advantage of his return to have a holographic rebellion, which the Doctor gets blamed for and taken into custody. Janeway is a new admiral who is not ready to give up the 'big chair' and will do everything for the safety of the crew she has finally managed to return home. All in all, this was a good read. I will read the other duology soon, then I have one trilogy that came out recently to read, and then after that there is no more.

Completion Date: August 23, 2007
Pages: 262
Publication Year: 2003
A Book in the Star Trek: Voyager series

Reason for Reading: I always thought they should have done a movie or something to show what it was like when Voyager got home, but they never did, so I decided I had to read this book and its sequel to see what it was like for the crew.

After seven long years in the Delta Quadrant, the crew of the Starship Voyager™ now confront the strangest world of all: home. For Admiral Kathryn Janeway and her stalwart officers, Voyager's miraculous return brings new honors and responsibilities, reunions with long-lost loved ones, and for some, such as the Doctor and Seven of Nine, the challenge of forging new lives in a Federation that seems to hold little place for them.

But even as Janeway and the others go their separate ways, pursuing new adventures and opportunities, a mysterious cybernetic plague strikes Earth, transforming innocent men, women, and children into an entirely new generation of Borg. Now the entire planet faces assimilation, and Voyager may be to blame!

I put off this book for one main reason, it and its sequel are essencially one book broken into two. That really annoys me about books, and I was hoping that they would put them together for a later release, but I do not think Voyager gets the sort of market that say Star Trek: The Original Series or Star Trek: The Next Generation receives. There actually has not been a Star Trek: Voyager book in a couple years, unlike the other series. Anyways, I am not a big fan of books being made two books when they are really just one. I know that Star Trek books are generally short, but loyal fans will not mind.

So, this book fills the readers in on what life was like when Voyager returned to the Alpha Quadrant. It takes up almost exactly after the last words spoken on the series finale of the show and takes readers through a period of time spent on Earth. It shows the development of relationships, reunions with family members, adjusting to life on Earth for those that have not been, and much more. Just in case readers thing the book is rather, well, boring, by the usual adventure story idea, there are a few more things for the Voyager crew to team up and fix during the course of the book.

All in all, for me, this book was good because it cured some of my curiousity following the competion of the series. There are better Star Trek books, but for what this book was for it was sufficiant.

Date Completed: August 19, 2007
Pages: 368
Year Published: 2007
A book in the Star Trek: The Next Generation series

Reason for Reading: I was hesitant to read 'new' Star Trek books because the crew had all gone their own ways, so the crew of the Enterprise is much different than it was for years. I finally decided to give the books a try, though, and see what happened after the cameras finished rolling.

Long before Captain Jean-Luc Picard took command of the Starship Enterprise,™ he fell deeply and hopelessly in love with Doctor Beverly Crusher. Picard never acted on his feelings, yet he found a measure of contentment as Beverly's close friend, colleague, and daily breakfast partner.

When Doctor Crusher leaves to become the chief medical officer of Starfleet, the brightest light in Picard's life is taken from him. He has barely resigned himself to his loss when he learns that Beverly has been declared missing in action -- and presumed dead.

Kevratas is a bleak, frozen world on the far side of the Romulan Neutral Zone where the Federation has become the plague-ravaged natives' only real hope. Starfleet has no recourse but to send in another team -- and Picard is the natural choice. Critical to the mission are two colleagues from his former command, the Starship Stargazer: Pug Joseph and Doctor Carter Greyhorse. Joseph is a man with a past to live down, and Greyhorse has served time for attempted murder. They are determined to succeed where the doctor failed.

On the Romulan homeworld, meanwhile, the political vacuum created by the demise of Praetor Shinzon has been filled by Senator Tal'aura. But there are those who oppose her, including Commander Donatra and the warbirds under her command.

So begins a desperate struggle -- not only for the freedom of the long-oppressed Kevrata but also for the soul of the Romulan Star Empire. Before it's over, destinies will be forged and shattered, the Empire will be shaken to its ancient foundations, and Jean-Luc Picard's life will be changed...forever.

It is save to say that I have been 'watching' Star Trek since The Next Generation aired 20 years ago. I was only 3, but my father watched it and I was there, so I remember it from a pretty early age. When I was older I watched it with older eyes, and by now I have seen every episode several times a piece. So, it is also save to say that there are certain storylines that I have been waiting since episode one to see concluded. One of those storylines was cleared up in Death in Winter. I am super happy, but since I think it is a huge spoiler, I will leave it for your reading pleasure.

So, this book takes place after Star Trek: Nemesis. Data has died, Deanna and Will are off on their honeymoon, LaForge and Worf are still serving on the Enterprise, Picard is waiting for his ship to be repaired, and Crusher is serving as the head of Star Fleet Medical. There have been a lot of changes to the senior crew, so it was interesting to see where the show was going if they ever made another movie. I keep hoping that Data will reappear and that he is not dead, but unfortunately no appearance from him.

Anyways, this book mostly concentrates on Captain Picard. There is a disease sweeping through an alien race and Doctor Crusher has been sent to find a cure. The species are in Romulan space, though, which causes some troubles for the mission and the next thing Captain Picard knows he is hearing that Beverly is missing in action. He does not know if she is alive or dead, but because her mission was so important to the salvation of a race, Picard is sent in with another doctor to try and save them. He is accompanied by members of his crew from his Stargazer days. He has to put aside his fears that Beverly is likely dead and be a species saviour.

If you like Star Trek: The Next Generation you should read this book.

Completion Date: August 17, 2007
Publication Year: 1994
Pages: 248
Part of Star Trek: The Next Generation series

Reason for Reading: This is a novelization of the very last episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation. It was a wonderful way to end the series, and has always been one of my favourite episodes of all time, so when I saw a hardcover edition with pictures from the show in the middle, I decided to pick it up.

Seven years ago, Captain Jean-Luc Picard first faced the judgment of the Q Continuum -- a race of beings with God-like powers over time and space who presumed to gauge humanity's fitness to exist in the galaxy. Seven years ago they suspended judgment, but now a decision has been reached: The human race will be eliminated, not only in the present, but throughout time. Humanity will never have existed at all.

The only chance to save mankind lies with Captain Picard. An old enemy has granted him the power to revisit his life as it was seven years before, and to experience his life twenty-five years in the future. With the help of friendships that span time and space, Picard struggles to defeat the plans of the Q Continuum. But even as he fights to save the human race from total extinction, he has been set up to be the unwitting agent of mankind's destruction.

In an effort to save humanity, Picard must sacrifice himself and all those he commands and if their sacrifice fails all mankind is doomed.
There are so many episodes of Star Trek that I have watched and enjoyed over the years. When this episode aired in the early 90's it meant that Star Trek: The Next Generation was going off the air forever. It was a sad day because you know, I am a big X-Files fan as well, but other than those two shows, as well as Star Trek:Voyager and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, I have never found a show that I have to watch. Instead, most of my television viewing is reruns of these shows. My solution? Bring another Star Trek on television that is not Enterprise. I was never able to get into that show.

One of the good things about reading the book versions of episodes is that there are scenes in the books that got cut out of the television version. It was interesting to read those scenes in this novel. What really seemed to get cut out were the cameos. For example, Deanna's mother and Doctor Pulaski have a scene in this book, but they were not in the television show. Doctor Pulaski was the doctor on the show for one season, the second when where Doctor Crusher went off to be the head of Star Fleet Medical. What really happened was that the writers did not know what to do with their female characters, or so I have read, and so they killed off Tasha Yar, gave Deanna Troi less screen time, and sent Beverly off to Star Fleet Medical. I am glad they brought her back, and the actress that played Tasha Yar even returned, but she played her daughter. I wonder what the show would have been like if Tasha had not been killed off. Until Star Trek: Nemesis, she was the only leading star to be killed off of the show. (Then they killed Data. I still have issues with that.)

Right, the problem with reviewing these books is I start rambling on about the television series, sorry about that. In this book Captain Picard travels back and forth through time. He is in the present, but then he travels back to seven years before to be with the crew before Farpoint Station and into the future 25 years where we see the cast older, and many of them retired. I am glad that the characters have developed differently than the 25 into the future predicted. Deanna and Will got together, in this novel she was supposed to have died. Beverly and Captain Picard were supposed to marry and then get divorced, but that has not happened yet. I am still hopefully they will get together, though, and they might have in more recent books. Will and Riker hate each other in this book, but that does not happen.

So, another funny Data quote:

Wiping her hands on her apron, she leaned in close to La Forge and spoke quietly--though not so quietly Picard couldn't make out what she was saying. "You're his friend, eh?"

He saw the former engineer nod. "That's right. And I have been for quite some time."

"Well then," said the housekeeper, "as his friend, see if you can get him to take that gray streak out of his hair. He looks like a bloomin' skunk, he does. People will soon start walking on the other side of the street when they see him coming."

Data, who had obviously overheard, cast a remonstrative look at Jessel. "Thank you," he told her. "That will be all."

Without another word, she made her exit. The android turned to his guests with a wry look on his face.

"She can be trying at times," he admitted. "But she does make me laugh now and then."

La Forge smiled. "So... what is it with your hair, anyway?"

Picard was glad someone else had mentioned it. Unfortunately, Data looked a bit embarrassed.

"I have found that a touch of gray adds an air of... distinction," he explained. "Unfortunately, I don't seem to have it quite right yet.".....
She is Data's housekeeper. To give you context, Data says that "a touch of gray adds an air of... distinction." Here is what Picard thinks about "the touch of gray" when he sees Data.

"Being an android, he hadn't aged over the years. However, there was a prominent streak of gray on one side of his head-not a natural streak, but one that looked as if a paintbrush had been taken to his head."
This is the best picture I could find online in a hurry. If you look closely you will see it really does look like the stripe of white that skunks have on their tail.

Overall, another enjoyable read in the Star Trek family of books.

There are a couple challenges going on where people are reading the The Pulitizer and The Booker awards for fiction. After seeing the challenges, I got browsing some of the awards for fantasy and science-fiction. One such award is the Locus Award. One of the awards is for art, voted for by Locus readers, and I thought it would be interesting to take a look at the work by these artists. This years winner was John Picacio.

Star of Gypsies by John Picacio
Copyright 2005
Interzone by John Picacio
Copyright 2007
Offical Website

My thoughts on John Picacio is that he is amazing. Interzone is very much a piece that if I had wall space, I would want it hanging on my wall. His artwork very much has a fantasy/science-fiction feel to it (which makes sense considering he does covers for those genres, including some Star Trek covers). I have not seen the other peoples work, but I love his, so I am happy he won. He has a blog on his web site in case anyone is interested.

In 2004, 2005, and 2006 there was the same winner: Michael Whelan.
Dragonflight by Michael Whelan
Copyright 1978
Cover to Anne McCaffrey's Dragonflight
Beanstalk by Michael Whelan
Copyright 1999
Official Website

Michael Whelan is an author I recognize, it appears he does the covers for authors such as Anne McCaffrey. He also does his own art which the second person is. He has been around for a while, it seems, and he has some amazing pictures! You can visit his website to see more.

In 2002, Bob Eggleton won.
Roller by Bob Eggleton

Worlds of Fire and Ice by Bob Eggleton
Copyright 2001
Official Website
These two paintings were not used as book covers, but he is also a fantasy and science-fiction cover artist.

Michael Whelan then won from 1980-2000. That's pretty impressive.

In 1979, Boris Vallejo won. He has a lot of art, and he does superheroes, so his art is recognizable. Just two paintings that I thought were impressive.
Not sure on the Name
By Boris Vallejo Fallen Angel by Boris Vallejo
Official Website

There is a few of the winners of the Locus Award, I will likely return another day to look at even earlier back but in the beginning there were two art categories and that will take up a lot of space. So, I will leave you with these beautiful paintings until next time...

Since I do not have a review for this blog tonight, I decided that my poppet should not have the night off so soon, so I took some pictures of the books I received from Carl for the Once Upon a Time Challenge and the two books that I got in the mail today.
First up, Poppet met Conan today. I have known these books existed forever, but never read them. They are classics in fantasy, that's for sure, and the amazing thing is... Robert E. Howard only wrote for 12 years. He commited suicide when he was 30. Pretty impressive, huh, just imagine what he could have accomplished if he lived longer!Then, I have The Onion Girl by Charles de Lint and Ravens of Avalon, which is the newestl novel based on Marion Zimmer Bradley's Avalon series. I am thinking since it falls chronological in the earlier part of the series, I might have to reread the rest of the series. Just throwing this out there, anyone interested in reading Marion Zimmer Bradley's Avalon series in a group setting? It would be chronological, not in order of release dates.... Since I have read them before it would be fun to have people to discuss the books with. Just comment in the comment section if you are interested. I would have to look up the correct order because I read them originally as I found them.

That was actually hard to find out. The chronological order of the Avalon series is...
1. Ancestors of Avalon (I have never managed to finish this book...)
2. Ravens of Avalon
3. The Forest House
4. Lady of Avalon
5. Priestess of Avalon
6. The Mists of Avalon

Great series, but when I read them, I read The Mists of Avalon, then Priestess of Avalon, then The Forest House, and then Lady of Avalon. I have had Ancestors of Avalon since it came out, but I just cannot seem to get into it. So, why did I get Ravens of Avalon... I'm a sucker, plain and simple. I see Bradley and I hope that it will be good, even though she died 8 years ago and it is actually Diana Paxson that I am supporting.

Date Completed: August 15, 2007
Publication Year: 2001
Part of The Chronicles of Narnia
Owned Prior to 2007

Reason for Reading: After watching A Bridge to Terabithia last night, I was in the mood for another sort of thing in the same vein, so I decided a reread of some of The Chronicles of Narnia was in order because I used to do so every year, but never have since I started blogging.

They open a door and enter a world- Narnia … a land frozen in eternal winter … a country waiting to be set free. Four adventurers step through a wardrobe door and into the land of Narnia -- a land enslaved by the power of the White Witch. But when almost all hope is lost, the return of the Great Lion, Aslan, signals a great change … and a great sacrifice.
This is probably my favourite and most read of the series. I was so happy when the series sort of got resurrected when the new movie came out because I had been enjoying the series for years. It was nice to see a new audience taking the time to read it. Now they are going to make all the books into movies, something that has never been done before, so I am sure this series will get all the recognition it needs. It is just sad that it took a movie to get people reading, but at least they are reading!

I am not sure I really need to tell people what happens in it, the book has been reviewed on several blogs in the last few years and a lot of people have seen the movie. This book is just one of my early childhood memories. I think this is one of my first chapterbooks, actually. Mind you, I no longer have my old editions, a few years ago I bought the book that has all the novels in it so I could read them more easily. So, as you can see, I have always loved fantasy. From the time I was very young it was one of my most favourite things to read.

So, instead of me rehashing the plot, what's your favourite childhood 'chapter book'? Have you read it since then, and if so, was it as good or did you find yourself wondering what on earth you ever found in it? This one is probably mine, so obviously I have read it since and obviously I still read it from time to time. Great book.

Date Completed: August 14, 2007
Publication Year: 1997
Book One in the New Frontier series

Reason for Reading: Somehow, I missed this series. I did not even know that it existed, but earlier this year, Zeek posted for the Ten Books She Could Not Live Without (full blogger list found here) that she could not live without Peter David's New Frontier series (you can see her list here). I was intrigued, but it took me all this time to actually get around to both purchasing and reading the first book in this series. (Actually, I only found the book yesterday). Angela (ScifiChick) also likes this series, and since these are both people I trust, I am now going to read this series. (Although Angela did not have this on her list, but she did have A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle and Heir to the Empire by Timothy Zahn, which are two of my favourite science-fiction books.)

Sector 221-G: For the whole of Federation history, this large area of space has been controlled by the Thallonians, a cruel, militaristic race of which little is knownexcept that they rule the other races in their sector with vicious iron hand.

Now the Thallonian Empire has collapsed and the systems it once ruled are in chaos. Old hatreds are surfacing. Petty tyrants control deadly weapons. World after world is descending into disorder and self-destruction. The Federation must send a starship to help where it can and report what it finds.

That ship is the U.S.S. Excalibur, a newly refit Ambassador-class starship commanded by Captain Mackenzie Calhoun and manned by Starfleet's best and brightest, including some old friends from Star Trek: The Next Generation and some of the most dynamic new characters ever to crew a Federation starship.

Join Captain Calhoun and the crew of the U.S.S. Excalibur as they explore strange new worlds, seek out new life and new civilizations, and boldly go where no one has gone before!
This book largely just sets the series up. Some of the main characters are introduced, but they do not actually come together as a crew in this book. In the first section we meet the man that would go on to captain the U.S.S. Excalibur. He is only 19 years old when we first meet him and living on a very violent planet. Despite his youth, he has already accomplished a great deal and then he meets Jean-Luc Picard, then the captain of the Stargazer, who sees something in this young man that could equal greatness. It would be 20 laters later before he would become the captain of the Excalibur, and lots of things have happened in his life between now and then.

In this novel, we have Captain Jean-Luc Picard, some appearances from Ambassador Spock, some of the crew from the U.S.S. Enterprise-E, and other characters that I am sure that will go on to instill greatness. As this book only sets the series up, and all the adventures that will be coming are only hinted out, I thought I would share a wonderful scene from the book:

Looking at the monitor screen, in regards to their entourage, Commander William Riker commented, "I feel like a mother duck."

Data turned at his station and regarded Riker with such clear befuddlement that it was all Picard could do to keep a straight face. "Don't say it, Data," he pleaded, heading it off.

"'It,' Captain?"

"Yes. Don't begin inquiring as to whether Mr. Riker will begin quacking, or waddling, or laying eggs or acquiring webbing between his toes. The answer is no."

"Very well, sir," Data replied reasonably. "In any event, it will not be necessary, since you have already voice all the possibilities that occured to me."

Picard opened his mouth again, and then closed it. Riker and Counselor Deanna Troi exchanged broad grins.

"Although," Data added thoughtfully, "there is a slight tendency toward waddling...."

Riker's face immediately darkened. The fact that Deanna was now grinning so widely that it looked as if her face was going to split in two didn't help matters. "Mister Data, I will have you know I do not, have never, and will never, 'waddle.'"

"You do tend to sway when you walk, sir," Data replied, undetered and apparently oblivious of the imagery he was evoking. "A sort of rhymthmic, side-to-side motion that could, under normal conditions, be construed as--"

"No, it couldn't," Riker said sharply.

"If you would like, I can demonstrate," Data began, half up out of his chair.

Both Riker and Picard quickly said, "No!" Surprised by the vehemence of the reaction, Data sat back down.
(Pages 69-70 from House of Cards by Peter David (the four-in-one book)).

I LOVED this scene, no, I LOVE Data. I was laughing, and I could picture this scene in my head. It was priceless, and the best thing is.... I cut it off, there is more to the scene. This is Data, afterall. So, maybe people want to pick up a copy of this book just to see what else happens. I know that I am thrilled with the series, even if this book only starts things, I can see much more hillarious moments as the series progresses. I am prepared to sit back and enjoy the ride, that's for sure.

Date Completed: August 13, 2007
Pages: 284
Publication Year: 2004
Book One in the A Time to... series

Reason for Reading: I stopped reading Star Trek a few years ago, but I remember when this series came out. I almost resumed reading Star Trek right then and there, but there were so many other books that I wanted to read I didn't. When I recently found the first five books in the series at the second-hand bookstore, I picked them up.

On the cusp of their epic battle with Shinzon, many of Captain Jean-Luc Picard's long-time crew were heading for new assignments and new challenges. Among the changes were William Riker's promotion to captain and his new command, Riker's marriage to Counselor Deanna Troi, and Dr. Beverly Crusher's new career at Starfleet Medical. But the story of what set them on a path away from the Starship Enterprise™ has never been told.


The site of one of the Dominion War's fiercest battles, the Rashanar Sector now contains a vast interstellar graveyard littered with the lifeless hulks of hundreds of devastated starships. The explosive destruction of so many varied warp drives has severely distorted the space-time continuum in this region, resulting in dangerous unleashed energies and bizarre gravitational anomalies.

The Enterprise has been assigned to patrol the perimeter of the danger zone, while other vessels carry out the difficult and highly hazardous task of retrieving the bodies of the dead from the wrecked warships.

To some alien races, the former battleground is hallowed space. To others, including the rapacious Androssi, it is a scavenger's paradise, ripe for salvage. None expect this ship's graveyard to hold a deadly secret that will force the android Data to make a heart-wrenching decision about the path his life will take -- and that will endanger not only the Enterprise, but Picard's future in Starfleet.

This is a series of books that I believe many Star Trek fans will want to read because it explains all that happened between the movies Star Trek: Insurrection and Star Trek: Nemesis. A lot changes, and with this series of books, people can understand why. For starters, I was very happy to see Wesley Crusher return to the cast. I would not call myself a big fan of him, but it was about time he reappeared. I was mostly just curious what happened to him and what he was doing during those years that he was off with the Traveler. This book fills the reader in.

I will have to read book two in this series soon, it has a cliff-hanger sort of ending and I want to know what happens next. Mean writers. At least when this series came out they came out one book a month, but for some reason the sixth book in the series is out not available on Anyways, unlike the last book I read, the Dominion War is over in this book. The Federation is left to pick up the pieces, and the Enterprise is sent to a particularly bad spot to salvage the bodies and send them home to their families. This battle was particularly bad and is full of mystery. It seems that the mystery did not end with the destruction of all those ships, though, the Enterprise and its crew find itself in the middle of it.

This was a rather interesting way to explain all the changes that the crew go through, and I am enjoying learning why things turned out the way they did. The problem with the show not being on television anymore is that things are not explained each week, so when they make a new movie there are often big gaps. Writing books to fill them in is, I think, a great idea.

There is one scene in this book that I do not think I will ever forget. It is between Geordi and Data, and honestly, it was such a perfect scene. Not perfect in how things were dealt with, but perfect in how it was orchestrated. Another good book in the Star Trek series.

Date Completed: August 12, 2007
Pages: 263
Publication Year: 2002
Part of the Star Trek: The Next Generation series. An untold tale of the Dominion War.

Reason for Reading: I spent my childhood reading Star Trek novels and watching it on television. This is why there are so many fantasy books that I still have to read, I started out my life with science fiction, mostly books based on Star Wars and Star Trek. So, the other day I decided that I am going to start reading these series again. Deanna, the main character in this book, was always my favourite character from TNG and I always wondered how Betazed was saved, so this was a logical reentry into the genre.

In the darkest hours of the Dominion War, as the Federation's downfall seemed ever more certain, Jem'Hadar and Cardassian forces conquered Betazed, the homeworld of Deanna Troi. Their victory sent shock waves through the Alpha Quadrant, and put the Dominion within striking distance of Vulcan, Andor, Tellar — and possibly Earth itself.

To secure their position in the very heart of the Federation, the Cardassians begin constructing space station Sentok Nor in orbit of Betazed. The station is to serve as both the seat of the Dominion occupation and the site of horrific experiments by Cardassia's foremost exobiologist, the infamous Dr. Crell Moset.

With Starfleet's forces spread too thinky in the ongoing struggle to retake Betazed outright, the U.S.S. Enterprise™ along with some old and new friends, is deployed to carry out a dangerous and desperate plan. But no matter what the outcome, the consequences could alter Betazed irrevocably, forcing Deanna Troi to choose between her world's survival and its very soul.
I remember when I was watching Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and Commander Sisko was told that the Dominion had just attacked Betazed. Then, not a lot was explained about what happened after that, and what was done to save it. I had always been curious, so when I was at the bookstore looking at Star Trek books and saw this one, I had to see what happened.

This book captures the struggle that the Federation was in, they just did not have enough vessels to retake Betazed, and lots of people on Deanna's homeworld were dying. The Dominion, the bad guys, were winning and the Federation desperately needed something to swing things into their favour. Then, a member of the Betazed Resistance got a message to Star Fleet and offered up a plan that could easily bring about the rescue of the Betazed people, but they needed Deanna and she was not sure if this was something she wanted to be a party to. It would mean release even more evil into the world, and Deanna was not sure if that was worth it or not if the evil turned on them.

This was a good book. Star Trek novels are not exactly brain food, but they are like brain candy. They are usually pretty short with lots of activity, and since I have seen every single episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, and most of Star Trek: Voyager, I can hear the characters voices in my head and picture the activity much more than normal. It was interesting to see how Betazed was saved, to watch the relationship between Deanna Troi and Commander Riker move towards what it would be in Star Trek: Insurrection, and to visit with some old friends. I think you will likely see more of my Trekkie roots on this blog in the future.

This book was exactly what I needed!

Howdy Folks! Sorry I have been so slack in updating, I am hoping people still read this blog... If you do, I am looking for some recommendations. Carl's reading challenge will be starting up soon, and last year I rewarded myself with one new purchase in honour of the challenge, so this year I am looking for another one. It is the R.I.P challenge, so I am looking for dark fantasy. I know most of the 'popular' fantasy authors, so I am really hoping people will go outside the box. Anyways, any recommendations would be great!

Also, I am looking for some Charles de Lint order. I have read a few books by him, but it was years ago, and I am currently reading Spirits in the Wires. I also have The Onion Girl headed my way. What other books by him are really good and people recommend? He has a lot of books to get through.

I have two fantasy books on the go, so updates soon, don't lose interest!

Completion Date: July 30, 2007
Pages: 324
Publication Year: 2006
Received from Random House prior to 2007.
Book One in the Drakon Series

Reason for Reading: I was looking for something different about the time that I acquired this book. It is really a mix of fantasy, historical fiction, and romance.

For centuries they’ve lived in secret among northern England’s green and misted hills. Creatures of extraordinary beauty, power, and sensuality, they possess the ability to shape-shift from human to dragon and back again. Now their secret–and their survival–is threatened by a temptation that will break every boundary....

Dubbed the Smoke Thief, a daring jewel thief is confounding the London police. His wealthy victims claim the master burglar can walk through walls and vanish into thin air. But Christoff, the charismatic Marquess of Langford, knows the truth: the thief is no ordinary human but a “runner” who’s fled Darkfrith without permission. As Alpha leader of the dra´kon, it’s Kit’s duty to capture the fugitive before the secrets of the tribe are revealed to mortals. But not even Kit suspects that the Smoke Thief could be a woman.

Clarissa Rue Hawthorne knew her dangerous exploits would attract the attention of the dra´kon. But she didn’t expect Christoff himself to come to London, dangling the tribe’s most valuable jewel–the Langford Diamond–as bait. For as long as she could remember, Rue had lived the life of a halfling–half dra´kon, half mortal–and an outcast in both worlds. She’d always loved the handsome and willful Kit from the only place it was safe: from afar. But now she was no longer the shy, timid girl she’d once been. She was the first woman capable of making the Turn in four generations. So why did she still feel the same dizzying sense of vulnerability whenever he was near?

From the moment he saw her, Kit knew that the alluring and powerful beauty was every bit his Alpha equal and destined to be his bride. And by the harsh laws of the dra´kon, Rue knew that she was the property of the marquess. But they will risk banishment and worse for a chance at something greater. For now Rue is his prisoner, the diamond has disappeared, and she’s made the kind of dangerous proposition a man like Kit cannot resist....In this bewitching novel, Shana Abé transports us into a world of exhilarating romance and magic.
This book was an interesting read. Normally Shana Abe writes romance novels, and the Romantic Times Bookclub calls this book the "Historical Romance of the Year" for the year that it came out, so the fact that I read it is something of a mystery even to me. I actually was interested in the fantasy elements and seemed to overlook the romance elements until I actually owned the book. I think the best place to start is by saying that this book has a very nice cover. There are dragons in this book, of course, and they are described as more sleek than dragons that we regularly read about in fantasy novels. This book shows an example of what they were supposed to look like.

So, the pros of this book. I really liked the main female character, Rue. She could be annoying at times, but for the most part she had a very fierce spirit for the time that this book came out in. She left home because she was different, and everyone thought that she was dead, but it turns out that she faked her death so that she could have a life of her own. That, and she has powers that are not common in females of their tribe. I liked the interaction between her and other characters in the book. The lead male, Kit, was a good character too. He could be a bit demanding, he was the alpha drakon afterall, but he was generally just doing what he thought was best for his people. He thought that bringing Rue home was the best thing for her, even if she did not quickly agree.

The problems I had with this book, there were a few dull spots that I felt dragged a bit. There was one part of the book where I was so bored I put the book down for a bit and considered whether I would actually finish it, but I am glad I preservered. I found that I wanted to know what happened next and how the book ended. There was a bit too much romance for my taste as well, but it is a historical romance, I should have expected it. It was tasteful, though, so it was not so bad.

Overall, not the best thing I have ever read, but I plan to read The Dream Thief and maybe onward if more books are released in the series. It is nice sometimes to think that we do not know everything about our world, and that maybe things like dragons roam the earth without us regular people even being aware.

Completion Date: July, 2007
Pages: 395
Publication Year: 2000
Purchased in 2007
Dragonlance Chronicles Volume II

Now the people know that the dragon minions of Takhisis, Queen of Dragons, have returned. The people of all nations prepare to fight to save their homes, their lives, and their freedom. But the races have long been divided by hatred and prejudice. Elven warriors and human knights fight among themselves. It seems the battle has been lost before it begins.

The companions are separated, torn apart by war. A full season will pass before they meet again--if they meet again. As the darkness deepens, a disgraced knight, a pampered elfmaiden, and a rattle-brained kender stand alone in the pale winter sunlight.

Not much in the way of heroes.
After reading The Dragons of the Autumn Twilight, I was looking forward to reading the next book in Weis and Hickman's Dragonlance Chronicles. Sadly, this book suffered the fate of most second books in trilogies. It was good, but it was not great. It dragged for me, there was not a lot of action, so it was not a captivating read.

In this book, the main characters split up into groups, so the book covers many different scenes as it follows the main characters around. A lot of interesting things are set up in this book, but you have to wait for the third book for them to come to fruitation. So, onward to the pros. The pros of the book were that there was Tas in a large portion of the book. The mood of this book was a bit darker, so Tas was very serious for himself in this book. He had his humourous moments, but for the most part he was serious. I understand why, but I miss my funny Tas. The goblins in Weis and Hickman's world are HILLARIOUS! They are inventors, and they talk a lot, people have never heard them complete a sentence. When they speak it is in a very jumbled mess. I loved the goblins, I hope to see more of them. One of Tas's more humourous scenes was when he met the goblins because they use sling-shots as elevators. Pretty funny!

Tanis surprises in this book. He is the leader of this group and people look up to him for the next step in their adventure, but the pressure is getting to be too much for him it would seem, and when a character from his past returns it will be interesting to see if he remains the leader or takes easy way out. Some of the other characters develop, and some of them were not in the book enough for me. It was not that the book was written badly, it was that I missed action. The book was all about getting reading for the action, and while there was a little bit near the end, it was a long time coming. That being said, I think it really sets up the trilogy for book 3 where all the action happens.

So, while not a great book, it was readable and I think it will be interesting to see what happens in book three. An enjoyable series.

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About Me

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Since I was a little girl I have been fascinated with books. Early photos show me with a book in hand, even if it was not exactly my reading level... My first word was a made-up word meaning 'book', actually. I suppose I had my priorities at an early age... Over the years my interest in books has become one of the defining features of who I am as a person. You can probably call me a bookworm. While I have other interests, reading will always be the one I talk about the most, even if I am not focusing on it as much as I used to.